Hand towels and kitchen towels are coming back in style, thanks to advocates for a greener planet. As one towel design company reported recently, 3,000 tons of paper towels are used each day in the United States alone.
What kind of environmental impact do those 3,000 tons of paper towels have?
Consider that for every ton of paper towels, 17 trees are required and 20,000 gallons of water are used. Try to sop up that water spill, quicker picker upper! Meanwhile, those used towels quickly wind up in the garbage, then into a dump or into a landfill. As paper towels decompose, they release methane gas. Although methane is less well-known than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, some scientists say that too much methane is actually more worrisome than too much carbon dioxide when it comes to the problem of global warming.
How many paper towels do you use?
If you’re like most Americans, you’re using about 3,000 paper towels (that’s towels this time, not tons) just at work alone. That doesn’t count the number of towels you’re using at home.
“But I use recycled towels.”
Good for you! That’s an excellent start, but even towels made out of recycled paper are still responsible for the release of chemicals into the environment, gas into the atmosphere, an extra use of energy, plus more water.
Maybe you should switch to hand towels?
Reusable towels, such as hand towels for your bathroom, kitchen towels, and worn out towels for cleaning purposes, stop the problem of paper towel waste before it starts. Plus, using real towels instead of paper towels will put money back in your pocket as you stop using roll after roll of paper towel.
As you switch over to real towels at home, maybe you can convince the people you work with to switch to real towels at work. A pack of hand towels can be found at a cheap price at most stores. Replace the paper towel dispenser with a basket of hand towels, then add a laundry basket to the office bathroom. It will look better than paper towels, be less noisy than hand dryers, and best of all, you’ll be doing something good for the environment.